Wednesday, December 17, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ray Conniff

Artist:Ray Conniff
Song: Somewhere My Love
Album:The Best Of Ray Conniff

Like his labelmate Percy Faith, Ray Conniff was an easy listening staple for decades. His albums were big sellers in the 60s. And he would occasionally cross over to pop as he did with Somewhere My Love in 1966. He was born Nov. 6, 1916 in Attleboro, MA. His dad played trombone in a local band. Conniff learned to play trombone and led bands as a teen. He moved to New York and was in Bunny Berigan's band for two years. He also played with Bob Crosby, Artie Shaw and Glen Gray. During WWII, Conniff was in the US Army and was an arranger for Armed Forces Radio. He worked as an arranger for Artie Shaw until Mitch Miller hired him to be house arranger at Columbia Records in 1954. His biggest hit in that period was singer Don Cherry's 1955 hit Band Of Gold. He also worked with Johnny Mathis, Johnny Ray, Guy Mitchell and others. He also recorded as Jay Raye for Epic Records. Conniff was experimenting with an orchestra and chorus in the studio. and Miller liked the sound so much, Conniff recorded the 1956 album 'S Wonderful. The album was a big seller and the rest is history. Conniff's albums were very popular for most of the 60s. He created The Ray Conniff Singers in 1959 so he could tour. Conniff rarely strayed from his formula and that's why his albums were consistent sellers. Somewhere My Love reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966 and it was Conniff's only top ten pop hit. Of course it played on the success of the film Doctor Zhivago. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. Conniff continued to record for Columbia into the 90s and he was very popular in Latin America. Ray Conniff fell and hit his head and died on Oct. 12, 2002 at age 85. His music is not for me but one can't argue with his longevity. Here's Ray Conniff performing Somewhere My Love in Sao Paulo, Brazil in the 80s.

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